The second day of Falcons rookie minicamp was a little different from the first. The unseasonable heat of Friday was replaced with a cooler and drizzling day of practice.
Saturday's practice saw a few moments where perhaps some light bulbs were going off for a few of the players. Safety Charles Mitchell had the lone interception of the full-team drills, Kenny Stafford made a few nice falling-down catches and Michael Calvin closed the practice with a catch on a slant across the field. Calvin turned the corner and showed some of the speed that helped him get into camp as he ran to the endzone.
Although head coach Mike Smith thinks many players are overwhelmed with the volume of what they've been handed, he still likes the progressions that are being made. After camp ends Sunday, they'll return Monday to begin weight training and the veterans return to the facility on Tuesday to begin coaching sessions. It's only been two days, however, and Smith feels there's a long way to go.
"I think it's too early (to form opinions)," Smith said. "I like the energy of everybody out there. I think the guys are very energetic and willing to go out there and play. There are guys that know they're fighting for a job. It starts right now. Some of them made some very good impressions. It'll be interesting to see how they respond and react when they're with the veterans."
The early impressions on each draft pick are encouraging for Smith. Center/guard Peter Konz has been impressive with his strength and brute force on the field early on. Tackle Lamar Holmes is being held out for precautionary measures for a "minor issue" with his foot.
Smith said on Friday that he anticipates fullback Bradie Ewing to do more than just blow linebackers up as he blocks for the running back.
"Bradie is a guy that's very athletic, can adjust and he is a guy that has pretty good hands," Smith said. "He doesn't have the statistics in college, as far as running the football so you think he is just a lead blocker and that's all he does. He does catch the football, catches it very well and he has good hands."
Smith said he sees a slimmer Jonathan Massaquoi on the field that what the former Troy pass rusher showed during his senior year, aiding in his explosiveness.
Smith also mentioned the play of Travian Robertson and Charles Mitchell:
- "Travian is a big, strong defensive tackle. He's more of an anchor point that a move guy. When we were doing our due dillgence in the draft, it's quite apparent that he was strong. You can see that strength not only in the weight room, but also out there on the field."
- "Mitchell the safety has done a nice guy. He's probably the guy that's had the toughest experience in the secondary guys because we've thrown a lot at him. He's done a very nice job. I like his movement. First impressions have been very positive for the entire draft class."
The coaching staff keeps their messages simple for the players. Although they're teaching them plays and schemes, they expect the guys just to give great effort. One of the college free agents, Cody Pearcy is still striving for perfection.
"They just tell me to keep grinding," Pearcy said. "Stay in the playbook and keep learning as much as I can and come out have a perfect practice every day."